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Dundee State Fish Hatchery Workers Busy Despite Temporary Shutdown

Dundee State Fish Hatchery employees still busy despite Texas Parks and Wildlife Department temporarily suspending operations nearly two years ago.

Texoma has been in the grips of a drought since late 2009.
And in early 2012, the lack of rain took a toll on the state's largest fish hatchery.
Texas Parks and Wildlife suspended operations at Dundee State Fish Hatchery until a substantial amount of rain brings the level back up at Lake Kemp.
So, what have workers been doing since the shutdown?
Mechell Dixon was at the hatchery earlier today and joins us with more.

Dundee State Fish Hatchery employees have been busy.
In March, managers say enough rainwater collected in the drained ponds to allow them to hatch more than $3 million Walleye.
And the rest of their time has either been spent helping at other state fish hatcheries or working on different projects at Dundee.

All is quite at Dundee Fish Hatchery since the state halted hatching operations more than a year ago but managers managers say workers have been busy on different projects.
They've repaired vehicles and replaced this technician's office with a trailer and added an awning but the biggest project workers have helped with is this pipeline repair, which totals about $250,000.

Two weeks ago, crews started construction on a 150 foot section of pipeline that was corroded and they're replacing it and once finished, it will take water from Lake Diversion all the way up to the fish hatchery,

"The intent with this project is that we have a complete sealed project so that we can create a siphon which will increase the amount of water that we get here to the hatchery," says Dennis Smith, manager at Dundee State Fish Hatchery.

But that pipeline won't be carrying any water until enough rain falls to raise Lake Kemp to 1,125 feet.
And that will take a lot more than has been falling recently.
According to Dennis Smith, even if Lake Kemp rises above 1,100 feet sea level, he says the hatchery probably won't resume operations until the the lake raises about 30 additional feet.
And until that happens, Smith says the pipeline project, once finished, will not be used until the Lake Kemp water level rises.
Also, Smith says he will continue maintaining the property while his two technicians shift between working on projects at Dundee and helping at other fish hatcheries around the state.
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